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RealTime Economic Issues Watch

In RealTime posts, PIIE senior staff and colleagues discuss the fast-moving economic news, financial developments, and public policy choices confronting the United States and the world.

Recent Posts

A Sensible Step to Mitigate Sovereign Bond Dysfunction

by | August 29th, 2014 | 04:57 pm

Lingering fallout from the debt crises in Argentina and Greece exposed serious flaws in the sovereign debt restructuring process: Small groups of creditors were able to extract preferential treatment and cause serious disruptions for everyone else. On August 29, 2014, the International Capital Market Association (ICMA) released a new set of model clauses for foreign […]

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Draghi Yields to Reality in Jackson Hole

by | August 29th, 2014 | 02:31 pm

On August 22 in Jackson Hole, Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), achieved an important breakthrough in the thinking of euro area authorities. He did so by acknowledging for the first time that inflation expectations could become unanchored from the central bank’s 2 percent target, declining dangerously below that level and requiring […]

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Hollande Doubles Down to Impress Europe

by | August 27th, 2014 | 02:27 pm

With his third government reshuffle since taking office in 2012, President François Hollande of France has ditched the most prominent left-wing members of his cabinet and acknowledged that a “team of rivals” does not work for a weak president like himself. Facing record low approval ratings at home and skeptical European partners in Berlin, Frankfurt, […]

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Europe’s Sluggish Economy and Gender Disputes Are Disrupting EU Politics

by | August 22nd, 2014 | 09:03 am

European leaders are holding a special summit on August 30 to fill two remaining top EU jobs, and another long night in Brussels could be in the offing. Failure to agree (again) on a successor to Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and Catherine Ashton, the high representative of the European Union for […]

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Is the West to Blame for Russia’s Aggression in Ukraine? Of Course Not!

by | August 20th, 2014 | 01:11 pm

John J. Mearsheimer is supposed to be one of the foremost American international relations theorists. But his article, “Why the Ukraine Crisis Is the West’s Fault,” in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, shows his contempt for democracy, national sovereignty, and international law. His thesis is that Russia has the right to decide the fate […]

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Taking Stock of the United Kingdom’s Funding for Lending Scheme

by | August 8th, 2014 | 08:59 am

During the tense summer of 2012 while the European sovereign crisis was in full bloom, the Bank of England (BOE) announced plans to launch an innovative new program to ameliorate the persistently high and rising costs of financing—especially to the United Kingdom’s 5 million small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This program, which was dubbed the […]

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What Putin Can Learn from Stalin’s Winter War

by | August 7th, 2014 | 09:15 am

As the crisis escalates over Ukraine, it has become increasingly clear that not only the rebel leaders but also most of their 15,000 fighters are Russian citizens. The Ukrainian troops are far more numerous with 40,000 to 60,000 men and demonstrate much better morale. They have recaptured three-quarters of the territory formerly controlled by the […]

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Putting the Trade Facilitation Agreement Back on Track after India’s Obstruction

by and Gary Clyde Hufbauer | August 5th, 2014 | 02:12 pm

India has blocked the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) approved by all members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) last December, drawing understandable condemnation from around the world. Bluntly put, with its action on July 31, India is holding the TFA hostage in return for the renegotiation of the Bali accord reached at […]

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The Missing Women in the Inequality Discussion

by and Sarah Oliver | August 5th, 2014 | 11:00 am

Growing inequality of income and wealth has become a major global concern. In many countries inequality has been driven by weak earnings growth not only among the poor but also among groups across much of the income distribution, while earnings of the top 1 percent continue to rise dramatically. A clear but often overlooked feature […]

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Argentina and Its Creditors after Default: More Questions and Answers

by | August 3rd, 2014 | 03:25 pm

Argentina and the small group of creditors demanding full payment from the nation’s 2001 default failed to resolve their differences on July 30. As a result, creditors did not receive the $539 million interest payment on Argentina’s restructured bonds that had to be paid by that date. The default happened because US courts ruled that […]

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